ArborOne Farm Credit returns over $2 Million to area farmers, customers

Pee Dee-based ArborOne Farm Credit announced today that it will pay a patronage refund totaling over $2,049,000 to eligible customer-owners of the lending cooperative. Checks will be mailed this month to customer-owners for their individual share of the lending cooperative’s cash-back patronage dividend for 2014.

ArborOne has distributed a portion of its net earnings to eligible customer-owners since 1988, returning a total of nearly $84 million in cash-back dividends to farmers, ranchers and their local communities.

“2014 was a year of uncertainty in agriculture, with the implementation of the new Farm Bill and declining commodity prices. Therefore, it’s more important than ever that ArborOne Farm Credit continue to do what we have done for the past 26 years, return our profits through a patronage refund,” said Kathy Heustess, President and CEO of ArborOne Farm Credit. Mrs. Heustess continued, “Patronage refunds represent a very tangible example of the power of cooperative ownership, and provide our customers additional funds to invest in their businesses, families, and rural communities. Our unique status as a cooperative means that our customers own us; therefore it is imperative we strive to return our profits to them.”

The ArborOne Board of Directors approves each year’s cash-back distribution in December based on a number of factors, including the cooperative’s financial performance. This year’s refund, or patronage, was approximately 37% of the interest accrued on a customer-owner’s loan.

James M. “Mickey” Ward, Chairman of the ArborOne Board, commented, “The board of directors of ArborOne Farm Credit realizes that our customer-owners choose to do business with us and to each of them, we say “thank you.” Mr. Ward, a row crop farmer from Timmonsville added, “We are privileged to have been elected by our customer-owners to represent them. As such, it is our duty to ensure a financially strong institution capable of serving agriculture for the long term. At this time, we are pleased to be able to return a patronage refund to these customer-owners because of the business that they have transacted with ArborOne.”

ArborOne is a member of the national Farm Credit System and serves the following counties: Chesterfield, Clarendon, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Georgetown, Horry, Lee, Marion, Marlboro, Sumter, and Williamsburg. ArborOne Farm Credit has offices located in Florence and Conway.

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Author: Duane Childers

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